I decided to officially “start listening” to jazz in high school. I started with the staples, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. This was in the CD era so I invested in buying jazz carefully because it’s easy to find something that looks great but in reality isn’t. And in the days before the internet, where else did you hear jazz? Where could you take it for a spin to see what you liked in the massive ocean of the genre?
Over the past twenty years I have discovered songs that mean a lot to me. This playlist highlights only a handful as to not overwhelm anyone with 2 plus hours of non-stop jazz.
The Art Blakey opening track was the first time I remember hearing a certain aggression in jazz that I could champion. Coltrane and Davis supplied the dreamy warmth (early in their careers and in my early discovery days) but Blakey was the one who broke it wide open for me. The Mingus track is also a favorite for the same reason. I love the shouting in the background as again it helps portray the energy they were putting into the music.
Below is just a taste of what’s to come in future playlists, but a great snapshot of my jazz education over the past two decades. Follow along for more.